Keyed by a relentless offensive effort, the Windsor Spitfires made history, winning their second straight Memorial Cup title with a 9-1 victory against the host Brandon Wheat Kings on Sunday at Westman Place.
Taylor Hall, NHL Central Scouting's second-rated North American prospect for the 2010 Entry Draft, had a goal and 2 assists to finish as the tournament's leading scorer with 5 goals and 9 points. He became the first player in the 92-year history of Canada's national junior championship tournament to win consecutive MVP awards.
The Spitfires also became the eighth team ever to win back-to-back titles, and the first since the Kamloops Blazers in 1994-95.
Last year, Windsor became the first team to lose its first two games and still win the Memorial Cup. This year, the path was far different, as the Spitfires trailed for a total of 3:02 in four games, and outscored their opponents by a combined 28-9.
"It's hard to imagine, it's still sinking in," Windsor coach Bob Boughner told Rogers Sportsnet. "I know we won it last year, but to go back-to-back obviously it's so hard to do. It's such a moment here."
Adam Henrique scored twice and added an assist, defenseman Ryan Ellis
had 3 assists, and Greg Nemisz, Cam Fowler and Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist each.
Matthew Calvert scored for Brandon.
Windsor led 2-0 after one period, but the game turned in the second, when the Spitfires scored four times and outshot Brandon 27-7. It was reminiscent of the first period of the teams' first meeting, when Windsor scored five times in the first period of the tournament opener en route to a 9-3 victory.
"I was a little worried with how we came out in the first five minutes … we kind of weathered the storm a bit," said Boughner. "But as a coach, you want your guys to play like robots -- everybody plays the same -- and the guys did that tonight.
"All the guys were playing very unselfish and did what they had to do, and I was very impressed with how we played.
For the game, Windsor outshot Brandon 52-28.
Brandon, which survived an overtime thriller against Calgary in the semifinals, pushed hard through the early part of the first period, but trailed on Henrique's first goal of the game. The Wheat Kings looked to escape the first period with just the one goal allowed, but Fowler made a sensational one-handed whack at the puck to keep it in at the Brandon blue line. Two quick, short passes later, Eric Wellwood found himself with the puck at the hash marks, and he rifled a wrist shot over the blocker of Brandon goalie Jacob DeSerres with 33 seconds left in the period.
Windsor dialed its play up even higher in the second period. Hall scored a power-play goal when Justin Shugg sent the rebound of an Ellis shot to Hall, who was alone in the faceoff circle to make it 3-0.
"It's just an incredible feeling," said Hall. "I think it's pretty safe to say that this is the No. 1 experience I've had … just with the adversity we've faced, the coaches, the group of guys we have here, everyone chipped in in their own way, and that's what makes it so special."
Calvert put Brandon on the board when he finished off a nice effort by Scott Glennie. Glennie drove to the net, but Windsor goalie Philipp Grubauer made the save. The rebound bounced over Brayden Schenn's stick right to Calvert in the slot, and he scored under the crossbar at 8:16 to make it 3-1.
Any momentum gained by the goal, however, was short-lived. Just 40 seconds later, Greg Nemisz was credited with a goal following a scrum in front of the Brandon net to make it 4-1. After a long video review, it was determined Nemisz, a Calgary Flames prospect, had shoved the puck across the goal line prior to the referee blowing the play dead.
Marc Cantin scored off a drop pass from Justin Shugg to make it 5-1, and Fowler scored on a point shot through traffic to make it 7-1 after two periods.
Zack Kassian converted off a Kenny Ryan feed to make it 7-1 early in the third, Henrique finished a two-on-one with Hall to make it 8-1, and Dale Mitchell scored the game's final goal. Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Staff Writer